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The Partnership Agreement

Why are we doing this?  How will we work together?

Encourage partners/participants to share their beliefs, values, principles, reason, expectations, priorities and needs. Once there is clarity on the overall reasons for collaborating on the project, begin to develop a set of rules and protocols that will establish good working relationships among the partners.  Working together depends on developing mutual understanding of each other’s needs and goals and requires the building of trust and appreciation between (among) the partners through a reciprocal communication process.  This will provide the common ground upon which the project can be built.

Shaping the Partnership Agreement

Develop a shared vision and clear objectives for the project. Monitor progress and share reflections throughout process – critical to strengthening and sustaining the partnership.

Be clear about:

  • Why the partnership is necessary
  • What value the partnership adds to the engagement/project
  • What each organization is contributing to the partnership
  • Who is responsible for the partnership in each organization
  • Each organization’s roles and responsibilities
  • Expectations and perspectives
  • Processes for communication and decision-making
  • Some of the areas you may also want to consider are confidentiality, privacy, copyright, intellectual property and accountability – legal issues as well as moral principles


Working with Communities and Cultural Groups

Some partnership will require additional care and understanding of specific needs to ensure good working relationships for everyone involved. It will be important to do additional background research about any community you are planning to work with to avoid any misunderstandings or misgivings.  If you are not sure about something related to the project or the community ask questions.  Always act with respect, honesty and clarity.

To be successful, the community engagement project should engage people in meaningful ways as well as providing appropriate respect and acknowledgement.  There needs to be clear dialogue on what this is between all involved and the principles of this engagement included in the Agreement.

  • Have you developed a relationship with Indigenous communities in your area and learned about Indigenous protocols? There are many resources to support this work, including Ontario Presents' Statement of Guiding Principles for Presenting Indigenous Work.
  • If you are working with a different culture or newly-arrived communities, do you understand what is culturally appropriate?  Making the time to develop a common language, achieve full understanding and trust will be important.
  • Working with the Deaf, disability and mental health communities requires specific space needs for accessibility, protocols and special equipment to enable full participation from those communities.


Recognition of Partners

The Partnership Agreement should also work out how each partner wants to be recognized publicly for their participation, e.g. branding requirements, funder recognition.


The Partnership Agreement should clarify the levels of responsibility and accountability in all aspects of the project – moral, legal, financial and artistic.  Who is responsible for what.   In particular, who is financially accountable.


It would be a good idea to include who is responsible for documenting the project throughout the process for the purposes of legacy, funding commitments, and evaluation.


Dance Across The North


Megan English - Community Engagement with dance


The Ontario Shebang

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